BUSH & BEACH WALKS

RECOMMENDED WALKS IN PIHA AND NEARBY

Piha beach and the surrounding area contain an abundance of awesome bush and beach walks and several waterfalls.

Piha Beachstay is centrally located in Piha at the heart of the Waitakere Ranges with easy access to all of the nearby walks.

22nd Feb 2019: Some of the tracks that walk through the forest are currently closed and being upgraded to help protect the iconic Kauri trees from Kauri dieback disease. Please observe the signage at the track entrances for information. See below for tracks that are open or closed.

Kitekite Falls
Kitekite Falls

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Kitekite Falls
Kitekite Falls

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KiteKite Falls

Status: OPEN

Location: Glenesk Road, Piha

5 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

Beautiful walk into the splendid isolation of this valley of native rainforest. This is a great place to swim in summer (or in winter if you are really keen) Recently a history of the Kauri Tree Logging in the area has been presented with displays along the track.

Mercer Bay
Mercer Bay

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View of Whatipu Beach
View of Whatipu Beach

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Huge Cliffs
Huge Cliffs

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Mercer Bay
Mercer Bay

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Mercer Bay Loop Track

Status: OPEN

Location: Piha, Te Ahuahu Road

5 mins drive from Piha Beachstay

  A pleasing easy walk at the top of the Piha Hill with views of the Tasman sea and the coastlines from 100 m vertical cliffs and a lighthouse. You can carry on from here down to Karekare Beach. Really keen explorers can also scramble down the steep track to Mercer Bay and discover the huge caves.

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Kitenui

Status: CLOSED

Location: Right next to Piha Beachstay

15 min top the top from Piha Beachstay

Very rewarding views to the beach from the steep hill just next to Piha Beachstay

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Tunnel Camp
Tunnel Camp

Between Karekare and Whatipu Beach

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Tunnel camp picnic area
Tunnel camp picnic area

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Karekare Beach

Status: OPEN

Location: Karekare Beach

15 mins drive from Piha Beachstay

 Location for the Oscar winning movie "The Piano". To the left (south) side of the beach is the Pohutakawa Glade walk. Continue south around the point toward Whatipu and explore the swamplands and the sand dunes south of the beach, Here you can access the Zion Hill track, Pararaha Valley and Tunnel camp area.

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Anawhata Beach

Status: OPEN

Location: Anawhata Beach

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

Spectacular beach that can only be reached by a 30 minutes walk. The track starts at the end of the Anawhata Rd, a gravel, narrow and winding road - so drive carefully.

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Muriwai Beach

Status: OPEN

Location: Muriwai Beach

45 mins from Piha Beachstay

Visit the Gannet Colony on this wild West coast beach. There is a cafe/store for lunch

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Arataki Visitor Centre

Status: OPEN

Location: Scenic Drive

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

On the way to Piha via the Scenic Drive. Well worth a visit with walking tracks and great views over the area. The centre has some interesting history and information about the Waitakere Ranges area.

View of Lion Rock
View of Lion Rock

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View from Tasman Lookout
View from Tasman Lookout

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The Keyhole
The Keyhole

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View of Lion Rock
View of Lion Rock

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Tasman view Lookout

Status: OPEN

Location: South Piha Beach

10 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

 The Tasman View lookout is at the southern end of Piha Beach and has stunning views out to the Tasman sea.

A track leads you right in front of the Gap, spilling water into the Bluepools and the nearby Blowhole and 'Tennis Courts' When there is low tide you can walk back along the beach and discover the Keyhole and climb up onto Camel rock.

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South Piha Beach
South Piha Beach

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Classic Piha Icon
Classic Piha Icon

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Lion Rock

StatusOPEN

Location: Piha Beach

10 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

 This iconic island in the middle of the beach resembles a sitting lion. You can climb up it's back to get great views of the beach.

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Black Rock Dam

Status: CLOSED

Location: Piha Valley from Glenesk Rd

5 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

 Picturesque track along the Piha Stream to the former timber dam. The remains are traces of the intensive milling for kauri timber which finally stopped in 1921

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Zion Hill Track and Pararaha Valley

Status: OPEN

Location: Karekare Beach/Whatipu

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

Tramping half the way in the bush up Mt Zion and walking back through Pararaha Valley between the lakes and return along the beach. Interesting rock formations and a small tunnel

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Waitakere Dam

Status: OPEN

Location: Scenic Drive

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

From Scenic Drive this walk offers variety with the dam and reservoir, many large Kauri and the historic tramline with tunnel. There is also a swimming hole nearby.

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Whatipu

Status: OPEN

Location: Whatipu Beach

45 mins from Piha Beachstay

It's a remote beach that forms the north head of Manukau Habour. The road is narrow and windy and you have to cross a fjord. But it's worth to go there - there are a lot of beautiful things to see like the large cave that was once used for dances. Whatipu Caves Track. Open

Whites Beach
Whites Beach

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North Piha Caves
North Piha Caves

Walking along North Piha Beach to the start of the Laird Thomson track

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View of the Lookout
View of the Lookout

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Whites Beach
Whites Beach

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Whites Beach

Status: OPEN

Location: North Piha

Laird Thomson Track. 30 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

Secluded unspoiled beach surrounded by steep cliffs. Starting at the North Piha beach walk past the caves and up the Laird Thomson track to a scenic lookout and then down to Whites beach. A loop track, choose to clamber down a steep rocky track and back up a more gentle incline. Great place for 'natrualist' sunbathing.

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The Coffin

Status: OPEN

Location: Mid-North Piha

20 mins walk from Piha Beachstay

Wander up the stream to a narrow gorge with a coffin-shaped swimming hole. You can jump off a rock into the deep pool if you dare!

Start at the Marawhara Track entrance. 

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Karekare Waterfall & Opal pools

Status: OPEN

Location: Karekare Beach

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

Small hidden paradise just beside the road in Karekare. Walk up the Lone Kauri Road for a few minutes - it's on the left side. As you're walking to the waterfall you've got the chance to have a dip in the nearby refreshing Opal Pools.

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Bethells Beach (Te Henga) & Lake Wainamu

Status: OPEN

Location: Bethells Beach

45 mins from Piha Beachstay

Explore this remote West Coast beach, walk over the hill to O'Neills, explore the caves or walk over the big black sand dunes to Lake Wainamu

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Fairy Falls

Status: CLOSED

Location: Scenic Drive

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

From the Scenic Drive carpark, explore the mature kauri forest, dramatic waterfalls and the views of Auckland City

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Upper Nihotupu Dam

Status: OPEN

Location: Scenic Drive

20 mins from Piha Beachstay

From Piha Road and an easy 4km return. View the waterfall, reservoir and dam

Quick History

Piha has a interesting history dating from the early days of the Maori - Te Kawerau a Maki during the 17th Century through to the European Settlers arriving in the 1830

Kauri Timber Milling endured over the 1850's to 1930's. To help transport the kauri logs to the mill, as many as 100 dams were built in the ranges during the 19th and early 20th centuries, some of which can still be found, 

 

Probably the most remarkable achievement was the 14 km Tramway taking timber down the coast along beaches and over steep bluffs to the Paratutae Wharf at Whatipu.

 

By the time the timber fellers had finished they had taken 1.2 million cubic metres of timber leaving bare hills and a few remote stands of mature kauri. With the development of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park the forest is well on the way to a full recovery.

Geological History of the Waitakere Ranges dates back 22 million years to when the Waitakere Volcano erupted from the sea floor for 75 million years. It gradually grew until it was 50km in diameter and 3000m in height forming islands above the ocean. You can see the rock of the waitakeres is a mixture of rocks, gravel sand and water from the underwater lahars.

 

About 16 million years ago the Waitakere Volcano was thrust up out of the sea and was slowly eroded over the next 10 million years leaving behind the ridges, gullies and volcanic bombs